Planning for Home Wind Power
Is Residential Wind Power a Good Fit for
Homeowners considering home wind power as a viable energy source need to be careful to conduct thorough research and plan accordingly prior to making any final decisions and purchases.
There are important questions that need answered and zoning regulations that need to be reviewed before launching the installation of your wind turbine.
What Do I Need to Know?
Ask yourself these questions and get accurate answers before making a decision so you know that you have good reason to invest in a wind turbine for your home.
- Will a wind turbine produce the amount of power I require? The answer to this question depends on how much money you are currently paying for your electricity each month.
Look at your last few electricity bills to see what your average kilowatt-hours usage is for a month. Check also your peak demand amount - this number tells you how much power you demand at one time in the home.
- Is my home in a good location for using wind power? Wind turbines are typically mounted on a pole at least 7 meters into the air in order to capture the moving air.
You must take into consideration the obstacles surrounding your home that might prevent wind from directly hitting the wind turbine. Obstacles might include chimneys, neighbor's houses, trees, or power poles.
Mounting a turbine on the house is not recommended due to the vibrations and movement that can reverberate inside the house. Once you've made certain that you have a desirable location for a turbine, you can move through the next several steps.
- What is the wind speed at my proposed location? - It's important to measure the wind speed at the proposed location for your wind turbine so you know whether or not the investment is worth the effort.
Invest first in an anemometer and a mounting pole. The anemometer will record readings of wind speed for you so you can then average out the amount of wind your turbine would receive. This handy gadget can help you determine whether or not to move forward with home wind power.
The cost of an anemometer is between $100 to $2,000. It's a worthy and inexpensive investment compared to installing a wind turbine only to discover it won't generate enough power for your home! You can also try renting one if you can find one. Check to see if there are renewable energy businesses in your area.
- Do I need permission from my neighbors and my local government? - It's a good idea to ask your neighbors what they think about a wind turbine installation, especially if you're located relatively close to each other.
It's always a good idea to consult your neighbors when you make these kinds of major changes so that you keep a good relationship with them. Secondly, it's wise to consult your local zoning regulations to see if any restrictions are on the books regarding residential wind turbines.
Most local planning committees are more than willing to discuss with you the guidelines for wind turbine installation. Once you've been granted permission, you can move forward with your project confidently.
- Can I connect to my local power company? Talk to them about connecting your wind turbine to the grid so you'll have a backup energy source during times the wind isn't blowing. If you're in a rural area, you'll need to consider backup storage options.
- How long will it take to realize a return on my investment? - You can figure this out roughly by taking the total amount of the installed project and amortizing it over 5, 10, 15, or 20 years.
The investment in home wind power is definitely an option for many homeowners, but it's always wise to walk through the research and planning steps prior to making any final decisions. This way you'll know for sure that your investment in a wind turbine is well worth it!